Jack Cochrane, a senior middle linebacker for USD, has succeeded in being a team captain for the Coyotes, selected as second-team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC) and leading the MVFC in tackles in 2019.
Now, Cochrane adds being selected as a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy.
The trophy, awarded by the National Football Foundation, is given to an American collegiate football player who exhibits outstanding performance on the football field, in the classroom, and in the community.
Each Division I, II and III football program in the NCAA is allowed to submit one player for the award. Cochrane was the player nominated by USD before being selected as one of the 199 semifinalists.
“It’s (the selection for the award) is awesome. You don’t really play football or go to school for achievements but awards like this help validate that you’re doing okay,” Cochrane said. “I just see it as a combination of a lot of people supporting me and helping me.”
The 6’ 3” linebacker is pursuing a degree in criminal justice along with a minor in business administration and has a 4.0 GPA. Cochrane is one of nine athletes named a semi-finalist for the award who holds a 4.0 GPA. In addition, Cochrane is one of 94 who are team captains.
“I try to approach everything in life with the same mindset — just do your best in everything,” Cochrane said. “I think it’s something that is a lot easier said than done, but it’s something I’ve focused on — competing not just on the field but also in the classroom.”
Cochrane has also found time to pursue community service in addition to being a student-athlete at USD. Cochrane helped United Way move locations as well as volunteering with a few of his teammates weekly at Brian’s Closet.
“It’s nothing huge but it’s something that we can do to make an impact around the community,” Cochrane said. “They (United Way and Brian’s Closet) are two awesome causes so why not.”
Cochrane has also been recognized as a leader of the Coyotes football team. Rob Aurich, Cochrane’s position coach, said Cochrane has earned the respect and trust of the whole coaching staff to be an example for the team.
Aurich said this is not just due to Cochrane’s leadership on the field but off the field as well.
“Ever since Jack came to Vermillion he has been a leader in everything he has done,” Aurich said. “He has been someone we are extremely comfortable setting an example for this team as well as this university, community and state.”
Cochrane said the early opportunities he earned at the beginning of his football career as a Coyote contributed to the development of his leadership skills. He also said he attributes his leadership abilities to his teammates and coaches who have helped him at USD.
“I think I picked up a lot of experience at a young age but more than that I just tried to compete and learn something every day,” Cochrane said. “I never had the goal of being a captain or leader but it was more just trying to do what’s right and that has put me in the position I am in.”
The announcement for the 12-14 finalists for the Campbell Trophy will be in November. These 14 finalists will be awarded an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship. Then, before the end of the year, the winner of the Campbell Trophy will be given a 25 lb. trophy and an increase in the original postgraduate scholarship to $25,000.
“It’s a lot of money for a college student,” Cochrane said. “I’m not exactly sure how I would use it. Depending on where I am at football-wise, I will probably save it for grad school whenever that time comes.”